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Asthma in children: A difficult war?


There is an observation that asthma in children is on the increase in spite of the fact that less number of children are exposed to tobacco smoke in their home environments. The cause this time around is childhood obesity.

A research which was done not long ago found that obese children were up to 60 percent more likely to develop asthma than the normal weight children. The study, which involved about 600,000 children, saw that there was a link between obesity and asthma. The asthma attack was traced to excess body fat and the extra weight on a child’s chest. Children who were on the bigger size were also believed to have more chances of having more serious symptoms that need more medical attention and drug therapy.

To know if an overweight child is battling with asthma, the signs would be a child who coughs, wheezes and complains of pain in the chest. He will also not want to play.

Other Causes
Some children have been seen to have developed asthma after they have done strenuous exercises such as running, swimming or riding a bicycle, some experts say, stressing that for some children, exercise brings on asthma attack for them.

With exercise-induced asthma, the child may cough or have shortness of breath after physical activity. The experts noted, however, that every vigorous exercise does not bring on symptoms in children, adding that with the right medicine, most children who find it draining to engage in energetic exercises can take part in vigorous sports like other children.

Respiratory Infections
These are most of the time viral infections. Respiratory infections have been observed to increase the possibility of a child developing asthmatic symptoms. In some other patients, other types of infections like fungi, bacteria or parasites have been found to be the cause.

The allergy that causes a child to react negatively may be his best-loved food. It may also lurk in his best friend- his pet. It could be mold in the environment, fungi, cockroach or dust mite. They may be from what the child has contacted from outside of the home like mold spores, pollens, grass or trees which are in season.

Chemicals in perfumes, paints you use around the home, hair sprays, anything that pollutes the air, becomes a trigger and may cause symptoms of asthma in some children.

The Change in Weather
Humidity and the change in temperature can affect the amount of allergens floating around, thereby making a child who is predisposed to have an attack.

Emotional Factors
Some children may have symptoms after going through experiences that make them feel sad and unhappy.

Gastroesophal Reflux Diseases (GERD)
GERD, which is also known as heartburn, is believed to go hand-in-hand with asthma because of the small amount of stomach acid which enters the lungs through the esophagus. This, it is believed, can irritate the airways. In more serious cases of GERD, small amounts of stomach acid spill into the airways to cause symptoms of asthma.

Inflammation of the Upper Respiratory Organs
The upper respiratory organs, which include the nasal passages and the sinuses, may be inflamed by allergies, sinus infections or lung diseases. The experts stress that only when these infections have been treated could asthma be effectively brought under control.

Night Time Asthma
The cause of asthma attack at night in children is still not known. But culprits are thought to be exposures to allergens during and immediately before going to bed. These contacts with allergens may determine how a child’s breathing changes while asleep. Another suspect is posture; how does the child repose in sleep. Another suspect still is that lower levels of cortisone which is produced in the body at night.

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